Interview and article by Merete Mei-Jin Noer
Founder of the lifestyle blog Green House, Anja Stang is a greenfluencer, storyteller and stylist. She works with several brands and publications with a green focus. Her goal is to inspire people to make more sustainable and green choices in everyday life. She is one of Norway’s most dedicated, innovative and respected voices within the world of sustainability.
First of all – tell us about yourself and what you are passionate about!
I am a Norwegian fashion journalist and editor turned greenfluencer. A bit more than a
year ago I launched my own green lifestyle blog, Green House by Anja Stang. I also work
as a creative consultant, copywriter and freelance journalist, mainly working with
environmentally friendly companies. I’m passionate about green entrepreneurship, people
who use their intelligence to make a difference and my family.
How did your blog come about and how did you decide to become a greenfluencer?
I had been working in the fashion and magazine industry for 16 years and had grown
more interested in sustainability and ethics. Besides fashion writing and styling, I regularly
wrote about animal welfare, organic food and sustainable fashion for different magazines
and newspapers, but was increasingly longing to have my own channel, my own voice. I
felt that the combination of ethics and aesthetics was lacking in that segment, so Green
House has an equal focus on the two.
Which are your favourite sustainable / ethical brands?
I have many favourites and most of them are Norwegian. Ayo Oslo makes the softest and
most beautiful cashmere and yak garments around with an equally strong focus on ethics,
sustainability and quality. Kontrast Project makes well designed, timeless shirts and
dresses in hemp using only plant dyes and a small well-run factory in Nepal. Le Backhand
makes lovely underwear and basics in the perfect combination of merino wool and silk,
spun in Italy. Studio EBN, which I also work with as a consultant, makes beautiful bags
from Norwegian fish leather. I recently discovered Klättermusen – a brilliant, Swedish and
sustainable outdoor brand for which I’m now an ambassador. And I am impressed by the
conscious choices behind Greater than A, a brand just launched by downhill skiing
superstar Aksel Lund Svindal.
How do you source for sustainable fashion brands?
Many approach me directly, or I am tipped off by green soulmates. Others I come across
in green online magazines or blogs such as Mochni.com. Because my Green House has
seven “rooms” aka categories in addition to my wardrobe (fashion), I always have more
than enough names to cover! The fact that sustainable fashion can mean so many things
is important to me; it includes second hand and vintage clothing, old favourites that you
wear again and again, and the new movement of lending/borrowing designer clothing.
Speaking of which, I’m also an ambassador for fashion rental network SoBo Community!
What are the attributes you look for when shopping for eco-friendly clothing?
In general, I try not to buy new items too often and rather cherish the ones I have and find
new ways to use them. Whenever I do need something, I prefer it to be more sustainably
produced. I always go for organic or recycled jeans and try to steer clear of items in
polyester or conventional cotton. My sustainable fabrics of choice are Tencel, linen, cork
and recycled or pure wool. Mulesing-free, of course!
Photo: SoBo Community. Anja is a consultant and ambassador for SoBo Community, a rental platform for designer clothing. The long silk gown she is wearing in the dress is from Ossie Clark and can be rented!
How are current established brands within the fashion industry trying to become more
Nowadays, almost all the high-street stores have a greener line or collection, which is a
step in the right direction. I really wish they would make a complete transformation to
more sustainable materials, but I’m aware that it’s a complicated and time-consuming
process to change a huge system. My impression is that Lindex is at the forefront, with all
their denim being BCI-certified “better denim”. H&M’s Conscious Exclusive collections
never fail to impress me with their degree of innovation and aesthetic appeal. I just wish
they would use their knowledge and access to make these materials a bigger part of their
repertoire. In fact, Weekdays, which is owned by H&M, only sell organic or recycled jeans,
always with a great fit and accessible price.
Do you think a 100 percent sustainable wardrobe is achievable? Why / why not?
I think it’s a very ambitious goal and, to be honest, not really a goal in itself as it would
mean getting rid of most of the clothes we already have in our closets. Anything made
from scratch can never be a 100% sustainable. The most environmentally friendly option
is to wear what we already own as much as we can; I always think #30wears or more. So,
for me, the most sustainable wardrobe would include a mix of old treasures, second hand
or vintage items and newer garments and accessories produced in the most sustainable
and ethical way possible.
Do you have any particular brands or stores you reckon we should not be shopping at
I’m not a fan of finger pointing, but in general I think we could all use our consumer power
much more and make conscious fashion choices instead of feeding the fast fashion
industry. I’m also always wondering why Zara tends to get away in that whole debate, as
they don’t seem to be doing much at all to change their ways. Is it because their clothes
look more expensive, even though they are ridiculously cheap, or because they’re
Spanish and not Scandinavian? It never stops to puzzle me.
What does luxury mean to you?
To me, true luxury is time! Time to be with friends and family, time to be on my own. Time
to reflect and dream. To be bored, even. In a fashion context, my kind of luxury is objects
made with love, care and skills, with an impeccable quality and beautiful details. Items
that you want to keep forever.
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